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Sales and marketing departments are considered as separate departments but they are both equally important for the survival of the businesses. But in many organizations unfortunately sales and marketing departments operate on their own ways with minimal interaction. Sales and marketing may even work at cross purposes.
To get the most of your organization’s resources, marketing and sales departments should be closely coordinated. A Customer Relations Management can achieve this goal by providing easy way to handle daily operations of marketing and sales. This combined and coordinated operation will bring a united effort to achieve your sales quota with improved bottom line in your company.
What is the definition of a lead? Ideally marketing and sales departments should have the same definition of what a lead is in the sales cycle. Unfortunately this simple definition is more often omitted from the business strategy of the companies. In marketing, a “lead” is someone who has shown any interest in the products you sell or services you offer. In sales a lead is someone who is ready to buy the products of your organizations or to pay for your services.
This leads to sales and marketing working at contrary to each other and eventually sales department complaining about the low quality of the leads marketing department pulls in. On the other hand marketing department complaints about qualified leads they provide aren't followed up and those leads have fallen in the cracks.
A Customer Relations Management system can end this friction by getting both sides to agree on the definition of a lead and making sure those real leads are followed up on and ensuring a lead tracking system created. This practice will eliminate a source of contention; it also increases the efficiency of the sales process and shortens the sales cycle. A CRM system will enable marketing and sales department share information and coordinate the same shared information for the benefit of both.
It is important marketing and sales departments share information, but it isn't always easy to have an effective system of sharing because of the differences in the way both departments organize and use the information. When presenting the same information to marketing and sales there is some work to be done. Simply putting the same information won’t be useful for the other department. Each screen has to be tailored to the individual departments in the format they can use and benefit the most out of CRM software.
A CRM will provide your business can develop a coordinated sales and marketing campaign that coordinates the functions as well as related customer-facing functions such as service. By delineating each department's roles in relation to the others it becomes easier to keep everyone focused on the same goals and using the same strategies.
Coordination makes it easier to pass leads and other information between sales and departments. This practice will eliminate the time needed to follow up on leads as well as making sure nothing gets dropped. Marketing campaigns can be brought into line with sales goals, extending their effectiveness. CRM will help your organization analyze sales and marketing information therefore your departments will able to tie things together.
Many modern Customer Relations Management systems come with a suite of analysis tools built in to facilitate the job. In addition, third-party tools are available that tie into popular Customer Relations Management systems to perform more complex analysis.
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CRM systems are the lifeblood of sales organizations today and marketing automation is increasingly used to deliver value to marketing teams. Still, as both departments reap the benefits of automation and analytics insight, greater value can be achieved if they both work together to use the information CRM provides to better fine-tune their processes and optimally support one another’s work. Here are four ways your sales and marketing teams can get on the same page, and then get to the next level using CRM insights.
If marketing and sales are living in separate systems, there’s a good chance that neither side has a complete or accurate view of the lead-conversion process or, on a more granular level, the individual transactions related to a particular lead. By integrating your CRM system with your marketing automation platform, you can provide both sides with the real-time intelligence they need to qualify better leads and close more sales. If marketing has access to CRM social monitoring, its teams can gain valuable insight into real-time dynamics that will shape future campaigns, special offers, and discounts. On a broader scale, both sales and marketing can jointly track their progress on key metrics throughout the month, proactively responding and collaborating as necessary if certain indicators are below where they should be.
If marketing has access to key sales data and vice versa, both sides can provide the personalized, informed service that they need to do their jobs most effectively. Today’s customers expect to have seamless, meaningful interactions with their brands of choice no matter what business unit they happen to engage with. Any sales rep will want to be fully armed with as much information on an incoming lead before engaging with that lead; now, he or she can initiate that conversation knowing that the lead has already attended a webinar, chatted with the business on social media, downloaded several white papers, and phoned in to ask some preliminary questions. All that intelligence will be there for review on demand.
If the marketing team is firing on all cylinders with a fully tuned marketing automation system, it may be delivering large batches of new leads to salespeople, who need them to be at a certain stage before beginning their work. In other words, what marketing considers a fully qualified lead may not be the same as what sales considers a fully qualified lead. By providing marketing with access to key reporting on sales trends in the CRM system, both teams can gain insight into which types of leads tend to convert most often and, in the process, refine the lead scoring process so that it hums more efficiently between the two departments.
All this can happen dynamically, as well: when salespeople close a lead, they can flag it as such in the CRM system. Then, if that system is integrated with the marketing automation software, marketing can go in and analyze the conversion path, gleaning a better understanding of what marketing activities led to the sale. Marketing can fine-tune its strategy, delivering more sophisticated campaigns and better-qualified leads for future sales.
Some businesses are not just integrating their CRM and marketing automation systems, and then encouraging their sales and marketing teams to collaborate; they’re taking the next step of hiring a sales-enablement manager to assume responsibility for more effective ongoing collaboration between the two units. This type of liaison, using data provided by both systems, can intelligently guide the sales team in which materials, marketing collateral, or other resources will be most effective in servicing leads, thereby improving the prospects of closing deals. In turn, the sales-enablement manager can assist the marketing side in optimizing its processes to support sales goals and needs.
As you’ve seen, improving collaboration between marketing and sales is a continual process that relies not only on effective data integration and management but also dedicated partnerships within the business. Are you working on synchronizing your two teams’ efforts for better efficiency using CRM insights? If so, what challenges and opportunities have you identified so far? Feel free to share your perspective in the comments section below.
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Most marketing analysts agree that marketing and CRM integration is vital for manufacturing companies. According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, three quarters of manufactures use content marketing. But only 26 percent state that their efforts are effective.The reason for the rest of the struggle is targeting right audience and finding the right content. More than 60 percent said that converting web site visitors into prospects was an immediate issue related to their marketing efforts.All of the problems above can be solved with a Customer Relations Management System.
Many organizations only know the surface of what can be done with CRM for marketing. Your CRM is the single most important marketing tool in your business.
Here are some ways to use CRM for marketing advantage:
A Customer Relation Management System is the domain of the sales departments. CRM integration is essential for marketing and sales department to work with coordination. A CRM system will make sure that marketing and sales are in lock-step around the goals, scale and scope of the CRM deployment. It is important that sales and marketing are together. This will enable two departments share information, common data, and have a unified definition of qualified leads.
Many marketing experts would agree on the importance of the shared definitions for sales and marketing.
Sales and marketing must agree on a common definition of a lead and who is responsible for handling specific actions throughout the integrated selling process. Organizations should answer the questions of what is a qualified lead for marketing and for sales.
Making the most of the Customer Relations Management System marriage between sales and marketing requires careful planning to present leads with the right marketing message at the right time in the sales cycle as well as defining the business processes and key features needed by each group. There should be a clear and specific plan in place.Organizations should plan and find out who will have access to specific of the CRM, other systems that will integrate with the CRM, lead qualification, how automation will be executed, content marketing strategy, how to track website visitors.
One of the critical factors on the CRM adaption is the employees’ understanding of the system and how they optimize the use of the system. One of the most common problems with the CRM industry is how often employees underutilize these powerful systems. Employee adoption of a CRM system is critical.
Employee training should include business process training and also technical training. Arguably more important than technical training is process training.
The best place to start is to teach sales and marketing employees on how to set up a lead management process .This includes business processes like how you plan to generate leads, how you will develop and educate leads who are not ready to buy for sales department. Marketing employees need to find out how to create the content you need to inform your leads through each of their buying phases, how you will prioritize, score and disqualify leads. Once the leads are generated there has to be process to pass these qualified leads to sales, and how leads will be routed to partners, distributors and sales people.
A Customer Relations Management Systems is just more than a functional address books. One important function of a good CRM system is automation. For sales departments this means a reduction in data entry, but automation also can play a strong role in lead assignment and marketing efforts.
With a CRM system you can put automation rules in place. You can have your system automate lead assignments so that only the most qualified leads are getting assigned to sales for follow-up. The remaining leads should stay with marketing so that they can be placed on lead nurturing tracks which will nurture them to sales-readiness without any work from sales.
A CRM system should have a clean data .Data integrity is essential when it comes to integrating CRM systems and marketing. A CRM system with quality data is important because it will be syncing with marketing automation software. Marketing automation won’t be successful if the data has duplicate, outdated information.
CRM allows complex marketing processes but that doesn’t mean these processes are right for Small to Medium Size businesses. Not many organizations need complex marketing strategies. Keeping things simple and elegant is cost efficient and the most effective in regards to return for every dollar invested.
So while CRM systems have much to offer the marketing department, the most successful marketing integrations are keeping things simple.
CRM software offers an impressive way to nurture and generate sales leads through the sales cycle, but by combining Customer Relations Management systems with content marketing, you can make a significant increase to shorten your sales cycle. A report from DemandGen found that businesses that have successfully deployed lead-nurturing programs showed an “average 20 percent increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads and found dramatic improvements to key conversion stages in the sales process.”
Using sales analytics based on Customer Relations Management system, marketers have the information to accurately create and deliver stage-based content that will help move prospects from one stage of the sales cycle to the next. Here’s how you can power CRM to drive the sales cycle with content marketing.
Content mapping is the process of charting which content should be provided at each stage of the sales process. There will be variances on this buying cycle based on each individual business model, but generally, the sales cycle can be broken down into three phases:
• Awareness: Awareness that they have a need to be satisfied.
• Evaluation: Are your services and products the best fit for my needs?
• Purchase: Take action to purchase
The specific type of information your prospect seeks will continually change as each step of the sales cycle is reached. The key to increasing sales is to provide consistent, stage-based content for your prospects from one phase of the cycle to the next.
Through the each stage of the sales process, Customer Relations Management systems track and store all communications and information in an accessible central data file, providing a complete data history of how the prospects interact with your business. Because of the detailed information Customer Relations Management systems capture, including time stamps, you now have the ability to track how past customers interacted with your content as they moved from prospect to buyer. By examining the pages visited, the white papers downloaded, the emails opened, the offers clicked and the order in which the pages were read, a logical buying behaviour will materialize and give you insights. This give will give you a complete historical snapshot of a buyer’s content consumption, which will probably look something like the below: Awareness, Evaluation, and Purchase.
A prospect is looking for information at the early stages of the sales cycle. The prospect is looking for potential solutions to a problem. A need has been identified, and the prospect is looking for potential solutions to a problem. Education is the primary goal of the content marketing at this stage. This may not be the right time for pricing, but it is the time to show the prospect your insights and knowledge of the specific industry’s needs. Webinars, blog posts, offers for white papers, and articles that show industry surveys are important at this time.
As the leads you have generated interact with your content you have provided during the awareness stage, the prospect’s hunger for more information will change. Finally the prospects will enter the evaluation phase, looking for information that reveals how your solution might work best to solve their problems. This is the ideal time to use content marketing to show how your solution solves the prospect’s problem. Your marketing team can do this by showing the prospects’ proof of how you had solved these problems for other customers. This content could take the form of customer case studies, video testimonials, and even competitive analysis fact sheets.
The leads’ decision to purchase your products and services reflect the power of your content marketing program. Not only have you successfully engaged the prospect with your depth of understanding about their problem, but you have also presented proof that your organization offers the ideal solution. During this final phase, prospects are likely to respond to coupons, free trials, and evaluating pricing sheets.
Customer Relations Management systems help you ensure you have done all you can to educate your clients, moving them on a journey from awareness to completed sale. CRM provides the ability to send personalized content to your leads and clients that matches each phase of the sales process; you have a powerful method to nurture your needs systematically with content marketing. Using Customer Relations Management to fuel your content marketing program allows you to ensure that your content marketing assets are aligned with the appropriate phase of your sales funnel so that you can provide prospects with the information they need and ultimately drive more sales.
There are Customer
Relations Management features that sales management loves, and there are
features that your sales management team appreciate.
Sales management team benefits most from lead tracking and
effort activity monitoring; keeping the focus on the pulse of the sales
pipeline is the key. Sales employees have a slightly different perspective.
The important part of Customer Relations Management features
for sales people is that how CRM can make them faster, better and smarter so I
can get more clients with less work.
Your organizations sales representatives may end up spending
too much time googling prospects, organizations and entering data in Customer
Relations Management System. Some sales people may spend sixty percent of their
time doing non-sales activities.
While there are many important CRM characteristics, here are
five that are particularly important for the actual agent closing a sale.
Among the Customer Relations Management features that help
sales reps get more sales with less effort is automation.
Automating all of the daily routine marketing activities
allows the Customer Relations Management system to work for you, freeing up
time to focus on more strategic activities. It enhances the processes, saves
time, effort and money and lets you focus on the most valuable asset of your
organization—your customers. A Customer Relations Management system without
robust automation cannot be called a sales-friendly CRM.
Automation is a key component to managing customer contacts and
the prospects information and conversations required by modern sales professionals.
The salespeople need sales intelligence automation to enrich leads with people
and company insights. Your sales team knows how and who to reach out to. Then
they need some type of templated email tracking system to help them automate
the process of reaching out and tracking responses.
Intelligent automation will help sales employees bring context
requires good analytics integrated into Customer Relations Management software.
Consumer behaviour has changed significantly due to
professional networks, social media and easy access to product and company information.
The only way sales professionals can meet these new trends is to have a system
that can gather information about the buyer and provide intelligent insights in
what needs to be done to sell to them.
A Customer Relations Management system will help sales teams
sell effectively is one that knows how to collect customer data and provide
insights for your business without much in the way of manual intervention.
In order to make the sales process easier is guiding agents
in the right direction and reducing wasted effort. A good sales-oriented Customer
Relations Management system will guide sales professionals through an
organization’s sales process and recommend the right and qualified prospects to
pursue and the recommended next steps.
The process will guide a user through the necessary steps to
achieve desired result, freeing a sales representative time for more gainful activities.
Helping sales team refresh on the details of a prospective
sale is one of the critical functions of Customer Relations Management software.
Data and communications need to be pulled together in one view to avoid sales
people having to search different sections of the CRM system to find different
pieces of information. The system should be easy for sales people to use.
Pipeline management should be easily accessible. A good Customer
Relations will remind your sales people where they are in the process of a
sale, their progress toward giving proposals and keep the documentation in CRM
software. Ideally this pipeline management will be visual.
They should be able to see at a glance where each
opportunity is in the pipeline, what the value of their pipeline is, and what actions
need to be taken to move opportunities forward.
CRM is not just useful for sales management but also your
organization needs CRM in marketing and customer service department.
For many companies sales is both at the core of business and
at the center of their Customer Relations Management system. A CRM system will
help sales agents make more sales.
Selling is the art of dealing with people and must have high standards. Those standards should be created and followed consistently during the full sales cycle. A consistent sales process provides the company best practices in sales. When management evaluates the performance of the sales professionals, they will have that opinion based on the set of rules created for the companies’ sales cycle.
Customer Relations Management System has an important role in setting and implementing a sales process. CRM will help design an effective process. Your sales team can implement it consistently. Sales managers can track the sales efforts of all employees in sales department.
Sales management should establish metrics to judge the performance of the sales professionals. Some of the most common metrics are reach, leads generated, revenue pipeline, revenue.
Increase in revenue is a fundamental metric, but it's a fairly crude one. It represents the outcome of the total sales process. You need a set of metrics that will give you a finer insight into your sales process.
A good metric is easy to measure, relevant and definite. Easy to measure metrics should be quantitative, and preferably expressed in firm numbers. Vague metrics are almost as bad as no metrics at all. Irrelevant metrics can actually do damage. Sales professionals will try to maximize their performance on these metrics. If the metrics are not going to change the success of the sales team, then business may be wasting their time and money.
Be wary of metrics that measure inputs, such as the number of calls made, rather than results. Substituting effort for accomplishment gives a distorted picture of the sales process.
Customer Relations Management System provides lots of relevant and valuable information that helps you set up correct marketing and sales metrics. Once the metrics are chosen, the next step is designing your sales process.
A Sales process is designed to keep the focus on the results rather than focusing on the not important steps. Every sub-stage should contribute directly to the sales process and leave your sales team with the maximum amount of control on how to accomplish that sub-stage.
In creating the sales process apply some of the ideas from top performing sales employees, know your competitors ‘tactics and styles and the industry in general and work them into your company’s sales process. In finding best practices it's important to separate personal idiosyncrasies from general tactics. All sales people, especially the really good ones, develop a unique style that grows out of their personalities. Some of what they do will be genuine best practices that can be used by others. But part of it will be a natural outgrowth of their personalities and won't translate to other members of your sales force.
Following up with a prospect at certain stages of the sales process is an example of something that can transfer as a best practice.
Finally, once you've codified your sales process follow up and make sure it is applied consistently. Make sure everyone understands that this is the way to conduct sales at your company and don't allow significant deviation. You may well find you'll have to adjust the process as you go along. That's fine. Just make sure you make any changes consistently and for the right reasons.
CRM Systems is a full-service professional service provider of end-to-end ERP and CRM solutions for the SMB business market.
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CRM Systems serves all of the United States and Canada with particular emphasis on the south-western USA, Ontario and western Canada.
Goudy Bookletter 1911